* John Pew wins Trueman Award once again at MRLS as he returns to site of his first-ever Daytona Prototype start with Michael Shank Racing (2007) * Negri leads race-high 37 laps * 1 race remains in 2012 Rolex Season--Lime Rock Park. MSR finished 3rd in 2011 (Pew+Negri)
Monterey, Calif (9 September 2012) - Mike Shank isn't a gambler, but he's certainly not afraid of taking a risk, particularly when there is a big reward to be won.
For the fourth time this season, a bold strategy call from the Michael Shank Racing engineers saw the Rolex 24-winning squad make a significant leap up the order. Sunday's Continental Tire Sports Car Festival was no different as engineers Dale Wise and Jeff Schaffner made a big strategy call to move Ozz Negri to the front of the pack as Michael Shank Racing led 37 laps on the way to finishing fourth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The result earned John Pew yet another Trueman Award and marked the team's fifth top-five finish at the California track.
Pew began the race from the fifth row and immediately moved up to seventh position in the opening laps as he once again showed a strong and consistent pace behind the wheel of the No. 60 LiveOn.com Ford-Riley machine. When the first of the race's two full course caution periods was displayed just 12 laps into the race, some teams opted to make their first pit stops, but the Shank crew kept Pew out on track in hopes of gaining some valuable track position.
Unfortunately, the return on that call was diminished when the No. 5 machine of Paul Tracy made an ambitious maneuver past Pew into Turn 1, shuffling the No. 60 offline and into the dirty side of the track. The loss of traction saw the two-time Pro-Am Champion lose several positions as he fought to regain grip with his Continental Tires.
Pew regained the lost ground enough so that he was soon pressuring the Ford-Riley being driven by current IndyCar racer Alex Tagliani. Still under green flag conditions, the Michael Shank Racing group called Pew in for a quick stop to rotate drivers and take on fuel and Continental Tires.
"It was exciting out there and the car was pretty good," said Pew after accepting his Pro-Am trophy. "We struggled a little bit with the car. During my stint I just tried to take care of the car. At the restart it was mayhem and I just kept thinking 'take care of the car, take care of the car'. And then I was held up a little bit by the cars in front of me but Ozz did a fantastic job keeping the car up there. The team did a great job with the strategy as always. It was just a little bit short of the overall podium goal, but I'm happy to win the Trueman Award today. It's been tough. This is the toughest Pro-Am year I've ever had - the Pro Am drivers this year are pretty tough, which I love."